Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research GroupN. ten Oever (editor)
Internet-Draft                                   University of Amsterdam
Intended status: Informational                        G. Grover (editor)
Expires: September 12, 2019              Centre for Internet and Society
                                                          March 11, 2019

  Guidelines for Human Rights Protocol and Architecture Considerations


   This document sets guidelines for human rights considerations in
   networking protocols, similar to the work done on the guidelines for
   privacy considerations [RFC6973].  This is an updated version of the
   guidelines for human rights considerations in [RFC8280].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on September 12, 2019.

Copyright Notice

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   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Vocabulary used . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Guidelines for developing human rights protocol
       considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Human rights threats  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.2.  Conducting human rights reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.2.1.  Analyzing drafts based on guidelines for human rights
               considerations model  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       3.2.2.  Analyzing drafts based on their perceived or
               speculated impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       3.2.3.  Expert interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       3.2.4.  Interviews with impacted persons and communities  . .   5
       3.2.5.  Tracing impacts of implementations  . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.3.  Guidelines for human rights considerations  . . . . . . .   6
       3.3.1.  Connectivity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       3.3.2.  Privacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       3.3.3.  Content agnosticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       3.3.4.  Security  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       3.3.5.  Internationalization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
       3.3.6.  Censorship resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.3.7.  Open Standards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.3.8.  Heterogeneity Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.3.9.  Pseudonymity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       3.3.10. Accessibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       3.3.11. Localization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
       3.3.12. Decentralization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
       3.3.13. Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
       3.3.14. Confidentiality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
       3.3.15. Integrity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
       3.3.16. Authenticity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
       3.3.17. Adaptability  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
       3.3.18. Outcome Transparency  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
       3.3.19. Anonymity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   4.  Document Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   5.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   8.  Research Group Information  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   9.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     9.1.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     9.2.  URIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27

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1.  Introduction

   This document outlines a set of human rights protocol considerations
   for protocol developers.  It provides questions engineers should ask
   themselves when developing or improving protocols if they want to
   understand their potential human rights impact.  It should however be
   noted that the impact of a protocol cannot solely be deduced from its
   design, but its usage and implementation should also be studied to
   form a full protocol human rights impact assessment.

   The questions are based on the research performed by the hrpc
   research group which has been documented before these considerations.
   The research establishes that human rights relate to standards and
   protocols, and offers a common vocabulary of technical concepts that
   impact human rights and how these technical concepts can be combined
   to ensure that the Internet remains an enabling environment for human
   rights.  With this the contours of a model for developing human
   rights protocol considerations has taken shape.

   This document is a further iteration of the guidelines that can be
   found in [RFC8280].

2.  Vocabulary used

3.  Guidelines for developing human rights protocol considerations

3.1.  Human rights threats

   Human rights threats on the Internet come in a myriad of forms.
   Protocols and standards can harm or enable the right to freedom of
   expression, right to non-discrimination, right to equal protection,
   right to participate in cultural life, arts and science, right to
   freedom of assembly and association, and the right to security.  An
   end-user who is denied access to certain services, data or websites
   may be unable to disclose vital information about the malpractices of
   a government or other authority.  A person whose communications are
   monitored may be prevented from exercising their right to freedom of
   association or participate in political processes [Penney].  In a
   worst-case scenario, protocols that leak information can lead to
   physical danger.  A realistic example to consider is when individuals
   perceived as threats to the state are subjected to torture or
   extrajudicial killing or detention on the basis of information
   gathered by state agencies through information leakage in protocols.

   This document details several 'common' threats to human rights,
   indicating how each of these can lead to human rights violations/
   harms and present several examples of how these threats to human
   rights materialize on the Internet.  This threat modeling is inspired

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   by [RFC6973] Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols, which is
   based on security threat analysis.  This method is a work in progress
   and by no means a perfect solution for assessing human rights risks
   in Internet protocols and systems.  Certain specific human rights
   threats are indirectly considered in Internet protocols as part of
   the security considerations [BCP72], but privacy considerations
   [RFC6973] or reviews, let alone human rights impact assessments of
   protocols are not standardized or implemented.

   Many threats, enablers and risks are linked to different rights.
   This is not unsurprising if one takes into account that human rights
   are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.  Here however we're
   not discussing all human rights because not all human rights are
   relevant to ICTs in general and protocols and standards in particular
   [Bless]: "The main source of the values of human rights is the
   International Bill of Human Rights that is composed of the Universal
   Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] along with the International
   Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR] and the International
   Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [ICESCR].  In the
   light of several cases of Internet censorship, the Human Rights
   Council Resolution 20/8 was adopted in 2012 [UNHRC2016], affirming ".
   . . that the same rights that people have offline must also be
   protected online. . . " . In 2015, the Charter of Human Rights and
   Principles for the Internet [IRP] was developed and released.
   According to these documents, some examples of human rights relevant
   for ICT systems are human dignity (Art. 1 UDHR), non-discrimination
   (Art. 2), rights to life, liberty and security (Art. 3), freedom of
   opinion and expression (Art. 19), freedom of assembly and association
   (Art. 20), rights to equal protection, legal remedy, fair trial, due
   process, presumed innocent (Art. 7-11), appropriate social and
   international order (Art. 28), participation in public affairs (Art.
   21), participation in cultural life, protection of the moral and
   material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or
   artistic production of which [they are] the author (Art. 27), and
   privacy (Art. 12)."  A partial catalog of human rights related to
   Information and Communications technologies, including economic
   rights, can be found in [Hill2014].

   This is by no means an attempt to exclude specific rights or
   prioritize some rights over others.  If other rights seem relevant,
   please contact the authors.

3.2.  Conducting human rights reviews

   Human rights reviews can take place in different parts of the
   development process of an Internet Draft.  However, generally
   speaking, it is easier to influence the development of a technology
   at earlier stages than at later stages.  This does not mean that

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   reviews at last-call are not relevant, but they are less likely to
   result in significant changes in the reviewed document.

   Methods for analyzing technology for specific human rights impacts
   are still quite nascent.  Currently three five methods have been
   explored by the Human Rights Review Team, often in conjunction with
   each other:

3.2.1.  Analyzing drafts based on guidelines for human rights
        considerations model

   This analysis of Internet-Drafts uses the model as described below.
   The outlined categories and questions are used to review an Internet
   Draft an generally the review is also presented in that order.  The
   advantage of this is that it provides a known overview, and document
   authors can go back to this document as well as [RFC8280] to
   understand the background and the context.

3.2.2.  Analyzing drafts based on their perceived or speculated impact

   When reviewing an Internet-Draft specific human rights impacts might
   become apparent by doing a close reading of the draft and seeking to
   understand how it might provide a different ordering of the network
   or society.  While less structured than the straight use of the human
   rights considerations model, this analysis might lead to new
   speculative understandings between human rights and protocols.

3.2.3.  Expert interviews

   Interviews with document authors, active members of the Working
   Group, or experts in the field can help explore the characteristics
   of the protocol and their effects.  There are two main advantages to
   this approach: one the one hand, it allows the reviewer to gain a
   deeper understanding of the (intended) workings of the protocol; on
   the other hand, it also allows for the reviewer to start a discussion
   with experts or even document authors about certain aspects, which
   might help gain the review gain traction when it is published.

3.2.4.  Interviews with impacted persons and communities

   Protocols impact users of the Internet.  There it might help the
   review to understand how it impacts the people that use the protocol,
   and the people whose lives are impacted by the protocol.  Since human
   rights should always be understood from the rightsholder, this
   approach will improve the understanding of the real world effects of
   the technology.  At the same time, it can be hard to attribute
   specific changes to a particular protocol, this is of course even
   harder when a protocol has not been (widely) deployed.

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3.2.5.  Tracing impacts of implementations

   When an Internet Draft is describing running code that has already
   been implemented, the code could be analyzed either in an
   experimental setting or on the Internet where its impact can be
   observed.  Other than reviewing a draft, this allows the reviewer to
   understand how the document works in practice and potentially also
   what unknown or unexpected effects the technology might have.

3.3.  Guidelines for human rights considerations

   This section provides guidance for document authors in the form of a
   questionnaire about protocols and their (potential) impact.  The
   questionnaire may be useful at any point in the design process,
   particularly after document authors have developed a high-level
   protocol model as described in [RFC4101].  These guidelines do not
   seek to replace any existing referenced specifications, but rather
   contribute to them and look at the design process from a human rights

   Protocols and Internet Standard might benefit from a documented
   discussion of potential human rights risks arising from potential
   misapplications of the protocol or technology described in the RFC.
   This might be coupled with an Applicability Statement for that RFC.

   Note that the guidance provided in this section does not recommend
   specific practices.  The range of protocols developed in the IETF is
   too broad to make recommendations about particular uses of data or
   how human rights might be balanced against other design goals.
   However, by carefully considering the answers to the following
   questions, document authors should be able to produce a comprehensive
   analysis that can serve as the basis for discussion on whether the
   protocol adequately takes specific human rights threats into account.
   This guidance is meant to help the thought process of a human rights
   analysis; it does not provide specific directions for how to write a
   human rights considerations section (following the example set in
   [RFC6973]), and the addition of a human rights considerations section
   has also not yet been proposed.

   In considering these questions, authors will need to be aware of the
   potential of technical advances or the passage of time to undermine
   protections.  In general, considerations of rights are likely to be
   more effective if they are considered given a purpose and specific
   use cases, rather than as abstract absolute goals.

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3.3.1.  Connectivity

   Question(s): Does your protocol add application-specific functions to
   intermediary nodes?  Could this functionality be added to end nodes
   instead of intermediary nodes?  Is your protocol optimized for low
   bandwidth and high latency connections?  Could your protocol also be
   developed in a stateless manner?

   Explanation: The end-to-end principle [Saltzer] holds that 'the
   intelligence is end to end rather than hidden in the network'
   [RFC1958].  The end-to-end principle is important for the robustness
   of the network and innovation.  Such robustness of the network is
   crucial to enabling human rights like freedom of expression.

   Example: Middleboxes (which can be Content Delivery Networks,
   Firewalls, NATs or other intermediary nodes that provide 'services'
   besides routing) serve many legitimate purposes.  However, protocols
   relying on middleboxes can create potential for abuse, and
   intentional and unintentional censoring, thereby influencing
   individuals' ability to communicate online freely and privately.


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

3.3.2.  Privacy

   Question(s): Did you have a look at the Guidelines in the Privacy
   Considerations for Internet Protocols [RFC6973] section 7?  Does your
   protocol maintain the confidentiality of metadata?  Could your
   protocol counter traffic analysis?  Does your protocol adhere to data
   minimization principles?  Does your document identify potentially
   sensitive data logged by your protocol and/or for how long that needs
   to be retained for technical reasons?

   Explanation: Privacy refers to the right of an entity (normally a
   person), acting in its own behalf, to determine the degree to which
   it will interact with its environment, including the degree to which
   the entity is willing to share its personal information with others.
   [RFC4949].  If a protocol provides insufficient privacy protection it
   may have a negative impact on freedom of expression as users self-
   censor for fear of surveillance, or find themselves unable to express
   themselves freely.

   Example: See [RFC6973]

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   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to non-discrimination

3.3.3.  Content agnosticism

   Question(s): If your protocol impacts packet handling, does it use
   user data (packet data that is not included in the header)?  Is it
   making decisions based on the payload of the packet?  Does your
   protocol prioritize certain content or services over others in the
   routing process?  Is the protocol transparent about the
   prioritization that is made (if any)?

   Explanation: Content agnosticism refers to the notion that network
   traffic is treated identically regardless of payload, with some
   exception where it comes to effective traffic handling, for instance
   where it comes to delay tolerant or delay sensitive packets, based on
   the header.

   Example: Content agnosticism prevents payload-based discrimination
   against packets.  This is important because changes to this principle
   can lead to a two-tiered Internet, where certain packets are
   prioritized over others on the basis of their content.  Effectively
   this would mean that although all users are entitled to receive their
   packets at a certain speed, some users become more equal than others.


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to non-discrimination

   -  Right to equal protection

3.3.4.  Security

   Question(s): Did you have a look at Guidelines for Writing RFC Text
   on Security Considerations [BCP72]?  Have you found any attacks that
   are somewhat related to your protocol yet considered out of scope of
   your document?  Would these attacks be pertinent to the human rights
   enabling features of the Internet (as described throughout this

   Explanation: Security is not a single monolithic property of a
   protocol or system, but rather a series of related but somewhat
   independent properties.  Not all of these properties are required for

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   every application.  Since communications are carried out by systems
   and access to systems is through communications channels, security
   goals obviously interlock, but they can also be independently
   provided.  [BCP72].

   Example: See [BCP72].


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

   -  Right to non-discrimination

   -  Right to security

3.3.5.  Internationalization

   Question(s): Does your protocol have text strings that have to be
   understood or entered by humans?  Does your protocol allow Unicode?
   If so, do you accept texts in one charset (which must be UTF-8), or
   several (which is dangerous for interoperability)?  If character sets
   or encodings other than UTF-8 are allowed, does your protocol mandate
   a proper tagging of the charset?  Did you have a look at [RFC6365]?

   Explanation: Internationalization refers to the practice of making
   protocols, standards, and implementations usable in different
   languages and scripts (see Localization).  In the IETF,
   internationalization means to add or improve the handling of non-
   ASCII text in a protocol.  [RFC6365] A different perspective, more
   appropriate to protocols that are designed for global use from the
   beginning, is the definition used by W3C:

        "Internationalization is the design and development of a
        product, application or document content that enables easy
        localization for target audiences that vary in culture, region,
        or language."  {{W3Ci18nDef}}

   Many protocols that handle text only handle one charset (US-ASCII),
   or leave the question of what coded character set and encoding are
   used up to local guesswork (which leads, of course, to
   interoperability problems).  If multiple charsets are permitted, they
   must be explicitly identified [RFC2277].  Adding non-ASCII text to a
   protocol allows the protocol to handle more scripts, hopefully
   representing users across the world.  In today's world, that is
   normally best accomplished by allowing Unicode encoded in UTF-8 only.

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   In the current IETF policy [RFC2277], internationalization is aimed
   at user-facing strings, not protocol elements, such as the verbs used
   by some text-based protocols.  (Do note that some strings are both
   content and protocol elements, such as the identifiers.)  If the
   Internet wants to be a global network of networks, the protocols
   should work with languages apart from English and character sets
   apart from Latin characters.  It is therefore crucial that at least
   the content carried by the protocol can be in any script, and that
   all scripts are treated equally.

   Example: See localization


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to political participation

   -  Right to participate in cultural life, arts and science

3.3.6.  Censorship resistance

   Question(s): Does your protocol introduce new identifiers or reuse
   existing identifiers (e.g.  MAC addresses) that might be associated
   with persons or content?  Does your protocol make it apparent or
   transparent when access to a resource it restricted?  Can your
   protocol contribute to filtering in a way it could be implemented to
   censor data or services?  Could this be designed to ensure this
   doesn't happen?

   Explanation: Censorship resistance refers to the methods and measures
   to prevent Internet censorship.

   Example: In the development of the IPv6 protocol, it was discussed to
   embed a Media Access Control (MAC) address into unique IP addresses.
   This would make it possible for 'eavesdroppers and other information
   collectors to identify when different addresses used in different
   transactions actually correspond to the same node.  [RFC4941] This is
   why Privacy Extensions for Stateless Address Autoconfiguration in
   IPv6 have been introduced.  [RFC4941]

   Identifiers of content exposed within a protocol might be used to
   facilitate censorship, as in the case of Application Layer based
   censorship, which affects protocols like HTTP.  In HTTP, denial or
   restriction of access can be made apparent by the use of status code
   451, which allows server operators to operate with greater
   transparency in circumstances where issues of law or public policy
   affect their operation [RFC7725].

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   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to political participation

   -  Right to participate in cultural life, arts and science

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

3.3.7.  Open Standards

   Question(s): Is your protocol fully documented in a way that it could
   be easily implemented, improved, built upon and/or further developed?
   Do you depend on proprietary code for the implementation, running or
   further development of your protocol?  Does your protocol favor a
   particular proprietary specification over technically-equivalent
   competing specification(s), for instance by making any incorporated
   vendor specification "required" or "recommended" [RFC2026]?  Do you
   normatively reference another standard that is not available without
   cost (and could you do without it)?  Are you aware of any patents
   that would prevent your standard from being fully implemented
   [RFC3979] [RFC6701]?

   Explanation: The Internet was able to be developed into the global
   network of networks because of the existence of open, non-proprietary
   standards [Zittrain].  They are crucial for enabling
   interoperability.  Yet, open standards are not explicitly defined
   within the IETF.  On the subject, [RFC2026] states: "Various national
   and international standards bodies, such as ANSI, ISO, IEEE, and ITU-
   T, develop a variety of protocol and service specifications that are
   similar to Technical Specifications defined at the IETF.  National
   and international groups also publish "implementors' agreements" that
   are analogous to Applicability Statements, capturing a body of
   implementation-specific detail concerned with the practical
   application of their standards.  All of these are considered to be
   "open external standards" for the purposes of the Internet Standards
   Process."  Similarly, [RFC3935] does not define open standards but
   does emphasize the importance of an "open process", i.e. "any
   interested person can participate in the work, know what is being
   decided, and make his or her voice heard on the issue."

   Open standards are important as they allow for permissionless
   innovation, which is important to maintain the freedom and ability to
   freely create and deploy new protocols on top of the communications
   constructs that currently exist.  It is at the heart of the Internet
   as we know it, and to maintain its fundamentally open nature, we need
   to be mindful of the need for developing open standards.

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   All standards that need to be normatively implemented should be
   freely available and with reasonable protection for patent
   infringement claims, so it can also be implemented in open source or
   free software.  Patents have often held back open standardization or
   been used against those deploying open standards, particularly in the
   domain of cryptography [newegg].  An exemption of this is sometimes
   made when a protocol is standardized that normatively relies on
   specifications produced by others SDOs that are not freely available.
   Patents in open standards or in normative references to other
   standards should have a patent disclosure [notewell], royalty-free
   licensing [patentpolicy], or some other form of fair, reasonable and
   non-discriminatory terms.

   Example: [RFC6108] describes a system for providing critical end-user
   notifications to web browsers, which has been deployed by Comcast, an
   Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Such a notification system is being
   used to provide near-immediate notifications to customers, such as to
   warn them that their traffic exhibits patterns that are indicative of
   malware or virus infection.  There are other proprietary systems that
   can perform such notifications, but those systems utilize Deep Packet
   Inspection (DPI) technology.  In contrast, that document describes a
   system that does not rely upon DPI, and is instead based on open IETF
   standards and open source applications.


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to participate in cultural life, arts and science

3.3.8.  Heterogeneity Support

   Question(s): Does your protocol support heterogeneity by design?
   Does your protocol allow for multiple types of hardware?  Does your
   protocol allow for multiple types of application protocols?  Is your
   protocol liberal in what it receives and handles?  Will it remain
   usable and open if the context changes?  Does your protocol allow
   there to be well-defined extension points?  Do these extension points
   allow for open innovation?

   Explanation: The Internet is characterized by heterogeneity on many
   levels: devices and nodes, router scheduling algorithms and queue
   management mechanisms, routing protocols, levels of multiplexing,
   protocol versions and implementations, underlying link layers (e.g.,
   point-to-point, multi-access links, wireless, FDDI, etc.), in the
   traffic mix and in the levels of congestion at different times and
   places.  Moreover, as the Internet is composed of autonomous
   organizations and Internet service providers, each with their own

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   separate policy concerns, there is a large heterogeneity of
   administrative domains and pricing structures.  As a result, the
   heterogeneity principle proposed in [RFC1958] needs to be supported
   by design [FIArch].

   Example: Heterogeneity is inevitable and needs be supported by
   design.  Multiple types of hardware must be allowed for, e.g.
   transmission speeds differing by at least 7 orders of magnitude,
   various computer word lengths, and hosts ranging from memory-starved
   microprocessors up to massively parallel supercomputers.  Multiple
   types of application protocol must be allowed for, ranging from the
   simplest such as remote login up to the most complex such as
   distributed databases [RFC1958].


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to political participation

3.3.9.  Pseudonymity

   Question(s): Have you considered the Privacy Considerations for
   Internet Protocols [RFC6973], especially section 6.1.2 ? Does the
   protocol collect personally derived data?  Does the protocol generate
   or process anything that can be, or be tightly correlated with,
   personally identifiable information?  Does the protocol utilize data
   that is personally-derived, i.e. derived from the interaction of a
   single person, or their device or address?  Does this protocol
   generate personally derived data, and if so how will that data be

   Explanation: Pseudonymity - the ability to use a persistent
   identifier not linked to one's offline identity - is an important
   feature for many end-users, as it allows them different degrees of
   disguised identity and privacy online.

   Example: While designing a standard that exposes personal data, it is
   important to consider ways to mitigate the obvious impacts.  While
   pseudonyms cannot be simply reverse engineered - some early
   approaches simply took approaches such as simple hashing of IP
   addresses, these could then be simply reversed by generating a hash
   for each potential IP address and comparing it to the pseudonym -
   limiting the exposure of personal data remains important.

   Pseudonymity means using a pseudonym instead of one's "real" name.
   There are many reasons for users to use pseudonyms, for instance to:
   hide their gender, protect themselves against harassment, protect

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   their families' privacy, frankly discuss sexuality, or develop a
   artistic or journalistic persona without repercussions from an
   employer, (potential) customers, or social surrounding.
   [geekfeminism] The difference between anonymity and pseudonymity is
   that a pseudonym often is persistent.  "Pseudonymity is strengthened
   when less personal data can be linked to the pseudonym; when the same
   pseudonym is used less often and across fewer contexts; and when
   independently chosen pseudonyms are more frequently used for new
   actions (making them, from an observer's or attacker's perspective,
   unlinkable)."  [RFC6973]


   -  Right to non-discrimination

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

3.3.10.  Accessibility

   Question(s): Is your protocol designed to provide an enabling
   environment for people who are not able-bodied?  Have you looked at
   the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative for examples and guidance?

   Explanation: The Internet is fundamentally designed to work for all
   people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture,
   location, or physical or mental ability.  When the Internet meets
   this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of
   hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability [W3CAccessibility].
   Sometimes in the design of protocols, websites, web technologies, or
   web tools, barriers are created that exclude people from using the

   Example: The HTML protocol as defined in [HTML5] specifically
   requires that every image must have an alt attribute (with a few
   exceptions) to ensure images are accessible for people that cannot
   themselves decipher non-text content in web pages.


   -  Right to non-discrimination

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

   -  Right to education

   -  Right to political participation

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3.3.11.  Localization

   Question(s): Does your protocol uphold the standards of
   internationalization?  Have you made any concrete steps towards
   localizing your protocol for relevant audiences?

   Explanation: Localization refers to the adaptation of a product,
   application or document content to meet the language, cultural and
   other requirements of a specific target market (a locale)
   [W3Ci18nDef].  It is also described as the practice of translating an
   implementation to make it functional in a specific language or for
   users in a specific locale (see Internationalization).

   Example: The Internet is a global medium, but many of its protocols
   and products are developed with a certain audience in mind, that
   often share particular characteristics like knowing how to read and
   write in ASCII and knowing English.  This limits the ability of a
   large part of the world's online population from using the Internet
   in a way that is culturally and linguistically accessible.  An
   example of a protocol that has taken into account the view that
   individuals like to have access to data in their native language can
   be found in [RFC5646].  This protocol labels the information content
   with an identifier for the language in which it is written.  And this
   allows information to be presented in more than one language.


   -  Right to non-discrimination

   -  Right to participate in cultural life, arts and science

   -  Right to freedom of expression

3.3.12.  Decentralization

   Question(s): Can your protocol be implemented without a single point
   of control?  If applicable, can your protocol be deployed in a
   federated manner?  What is the potential for discrimination against
   users of your protocol?  How can your protocol be used to implicate
   users?  Does your protocol create additional centralized points of

   Explanation: Decentralization is one of the central technical
   concepts of the architecture of the networks, and embraced as such by
   the IETF [RFC3935].  It refers to the absence or minimization of
   centralized points of control, a feature that is assumed to make it
   easy for new users to join and new uses to unfold [Brown].  It also
   reduces issues surrounding single points of failure, and distributes

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   the network such that it continues to function even if one or several
   nodes are disabled.  With the commercialization of the Internet in
   the early 1990s, there has been a slow move away from
   decentralization, to the detriment of the technical benefits of
   having a decentralized Internet.

   Example: The bits traveling the Internet are increasingly susceptible
   to monitoring and censorship, from both governments and Internet
   service providers, as well as third (malicious) parties.  The ability
   to monitor and censor is further enabled by the increased
   centralization of the network that creates central infrastructure
   points that can be tapped in to.  The creation of peer-to-peer
   networks and the development of voice-over-IP protocols using peer-
   to-peer technology in combination with distributed hash table (DHT)
   for scalability are examples of how protocols can preserve
   decentralization [Pouwelse].


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

3.3.13.  Reliability

   Question(s): Is your protocol fault tolerant?  Does it downgrade
   gracefully?  Can your protocol resist malicious degradation attempts?
   Do you have a documented way to announce degradation?  Do you have
   measures in place for recovery or partial healing from failure?  Can
   your protocol maintain dependability and performance in the face of
   unanticipated changes or circumstances?

   Explanation: Reliability ensures that a protocol will execute its
   function consistently and error resistant as described, and function
   without unexpected result.  A system that is reliable degenerates
   gracefully and will have a documented way to announce degradation.
   It also has mechanisms to recover from failure gracefully, and if
   applicable, allow for partial healing.  It is important here to draw
   a distinction between random degradation and malicious degradation.
   Many current attacks against TLS, for example, exploit TLS' ability
   to gracefully downgrade to older cipher suites - from a functional
   perspective, this is good; from a security perspective, this can be
   very bad.  As with confidentiality, the growth of the Internet and
   fostering innovation in services depends on users having confidence
   and trust [RFC3724] in the network.  For reliability, it is necessary
   that services notify the users if a delivery fails.  In the case of
   real-time systems in addition to the reliable delivery the protocol
   needs to safeguard timeliness.

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   Example: In the modern IP stack structure, a reliable transport layer
   requires an indication that transport processing has successfully
   completed, such as given by TCP's ACK message [RFC0793], and not
   simply an indication from the IP layer that the packet arrived.
   Similarly, an application layer protocol may require an application-
   specific acknowledgment that contains, among other things, a status
   code indicating the disposition of the request (See [RFC3724]).


   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to security

3.3.14.  Confidentiality

   Question(s): Does this protocol expose information related to
   identifiers or data?  If so, does it do so to each other protocol
   entity (i.e., recipients, intermediaries, and enablers) [RFC6973]?
   What options exist for protocol implementers to choose to limit the
   information shared with each entity?  What operational controls are
   available to limit the information shared with each entity?

   What controls or consent mechanisms does the protocol define or
   require before personal data or identifiers are shared or exposed via
   the protocol?  If no such mechanisms or controls are specified, is it
   expected that control and consent will be handled outside of the

   Does the protocol provide ways for initiators to share different
   pieces of information with different recipients?  If not, are there
   mechanisms that exist outside of the protocol to provide initiators
   with such control?

   Does the protocol provide ways for initiators to limit the sharing or
   express individuals' preferences to recipients or intermediaries with
   regard to the collection, use, or disclosure of their personal data?
   If not, are there mechanisms that exist outside of the protocol to
   provide users with such control?  Is it expected that users will have
   relationships that govern the use of the information (contractual or
   otherwise) with those who operate these intermediaries?  Does the
   protocol prefer encryption over clear text operation?

   Explanation: Confidentiality refers to keeping your data secret from
   unintended listeners [BCP72].  The growth of the Internet depends on
   users having confidence that the network protects their personal data

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   Example: Protocols that do not encrypt their payload make the entire
   content of the communication available to the idealized attacker
   along their path.  Following the advice in [RFC3365], most such
   protocols have a secure variant that encrypts the payload for
   confidentiality, and these secure variants are seeing ever-wider
   deployment.  A noteworthy exception is DNS [RFC1035], as DNSSEC
   [RFC4033] does not have confidentiality as a requirement.  This
   implies that, in the absence of the use of more recent standards like
   DNS over TLS [RFC7858] or DNS over HTTPS [RFC8484], all DNS queries
   and answers generated by the activities of any protocol are available
   to the attacker.  When store-and-forward protocols are used (e.g.,
   SMTP [RFC5321]), intermediaries leave this data subject to
   observation by an attacker that has compromised these intermediaries,
   unless the data is encrypted end-to-end by the application-layer
   protocol or the implementation uses an encrypted store for this data


   -  Right to privacy

   -  Right to security

3.3.15.  Integrity

   Question(s): Does your protocol maintain, assure and/or verify the
   accuracy of payload data?  Does your protocol maintain and assure the
   consistency of data?  Does your protocol in any way allow for the
   data to be (intentionally or unintentionally) altered?

   Explanation: Integrity refers to the maintenance and assurance of the
   accuracy and consistency of data to ensure it has not been
   (intentionally or unintentionally) altered.

   Example: Integrity verification of data is important to prevent
   vulnerabilities and attacks, like man-in-the-middle-attacks.  These
   attacks happen when a third party (often for malicious reasons)
   intercepts a communication between two parties, inserting themselves
   in the middle changing the content of the data.  In practice this
   looks as follows:

   Alice wants to communicate with Bob.
   Corinne forges and sends a message to Bob, impersonating Alice.
   Bob cannot see the data from Alice was altered by Corinne.
   Corinne intercepts and alters the communication as it is sent between
   Alice and Bob.
   Corinne is able to control the communication content.

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   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to security

3.3.16.  Authenticity

   Question(s): Do you have sufficient measures to confirm the truth of
   an attribute of a single piece of data or entity?  Can the attributes
   get garbled along the way (see security)?  If relevant, have you
   implemented IPsec, DNSsec, HTTPS and other Standard Security Best

   Explanation: Authenticity ensures that data does indeed come from the
   source it claims to come from.  This is important to prevent certain
   attacks or unauthorized access and use of data.

   Example: Authentication of data is important to prevent
   vulnerabilities and attacks, like man-in-the-middle-attacks.  These
   attacks happen when a third party (often for malicious reasons)
   intercepts a communication between two parties, inserting themselves
   in the middle and posing as both parties.  In practice this looks as

   Alice wants to communicate with Bob.
   Alice sends data to Bob.
   Corinne intercepts the data sent to Bob.
   Corinne reads (and potentially alters) the message to Bob.
   Bob cannot see the data did not come from Alice but from Corinne.

   When there is proper authentication the scenario would be as follows:

   Alice wants to communicate with Bob.
   Alice sends data to Bob.
   Corinne intercepts the data sent to Bob.
   Corinne reads and alters the message to Bob.
   Bob can see the data did not come from Alice but from Corinne.


   -  Right to privacy

   -  Right to freedom of expression

   -  Right to security

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3.3.17.  Adaptability

   Question(s): Is your protocol written in such a way that is would be
   easy for other protocols to be developed on top of it, or to interact
   with it?  Does your protocol impact permissionless innovation?  (See

   Explanation: Adaptability is closely interrelated with permissionless
   innovation: both maintain the freedom and ability to freely create
   and deploy new protocols on top of the communications constructs that
   currently exist.  It is at the heart of the Internet as we know it,
   and to maintain its fundamentally open nature, we need to be mindful
   of the impact of protocols on maintaining or reducing permissionless
   innovation to ensure the Internet can continue to develop.

   Example: WebRTC generates audio and/or video data.  In order to
   ensure that WebRTC can be used in different locations by different
   parties, it is important that standard Javascript APIs are developed
   to support applications from different voice service providers.
   Multiple parties will have similar capabilities, in order to ensure
   that all parties can build upon existing standards these need to be
   adaptable, and allow for permissionless innovation.


   -  Right to education

   -  Freedom of expression

   -  Freedom of assembly and association

3.3.18.  Outcome Transparency

   Question(s): Are the effects of your protocol fully and easily
   comprehensible, including with respect to unintended consequences of
   protocol choices?

   Explanation: Certain technical choices may have unintended

   Example: Lack of authenticity may lead to lack of integrity and
   negative externalities, of which spam is an example.  Lack of data
   that could be used for billing and accounting can lead to so-called
   "free" arrangements which obscure the actual costs and distribution
   of the costs, for example the barter arrangements that are commonly
   used for Internet interconnection; and the commercial exploitation of
   personal data for targeted advertising which is the most common
   funding model for the so-called "free" services such as search

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   engines and social networks.  Other unexpected outcomes might not be
   technical, but rather architectural, social or economical.

   Impacts: - Freedom of expression - Privacy - Freedom of assembly and
   association - Access to information

3.3.19.  Anonymity

   Question(s): Does you protocol make use of persistent identifiers?
   Can it be done without them?  Did you have a look at the Privacy
   Considerations for Internet Protocols [RFC6973], especially section
   6.1.1 of that document?

   Explanation: Anonymity refers to the condition of an identity being
   unknown or concealed [RFC4949].  Even though full anonymity is hard
   to achieve, it is a non-binary concept.  Making pervasive monitoring
   and tracking harder is important for many users as well as for the
   IETF [RFC7258].  Achieving a higher level of anonymity is an
   important feature for many end-users, as it allows them different
   degrees of privacy online.  Anonymity is an inherent part of the
   right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to privacy.
   Avoid adding identifiers, options or configurations that create or
   might lead to patterns or regularities that are not explicitly
   required by the protocol.

   If your protocol collects data and distributes it (see [RFC6235]),
   you should anonymize the data, but keep in mind that "anonymizing"
   data is notoriously hard.  Do not think that just dropping the last
   byte of an IP address "anonymizes" data.  If your protocol allows for
   identity management, there should be a clear barrier between the
   identities to ensure that they cannot (easily) be associated with
   each other.

   Often protocols expose personal data, it is important to consider
   ways to mitigate the obvious privacy impacts.  A protocol that uses
   data that could help identify a sender (items of interest) should be
   protected from third parties.  For instance, if one wants to hide the
   source/destination IP addresses of a packet, the use of IPsec in
   tunneling mode (e.g., inside a virtual private network) can be
   helpful to protect from third parties likely to eavesdrop packets
   exchanged between the tunnel endpoints.

   Example: An example is DHCP where sending a persistent identifier as
   the client name was not mandatory but, in practice, done by many
   implementations, before [RFC7844].


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   -  Right to non-discrimination

   -  Right to political participation

   -  Right to freedom of assembly and association

   -  Right to security

4.  Document Status

   This RG document is currently documenting best practices and
   guidelines for human rights reviews of networking protocols and other
   Internet-Drafts and RFCs

5.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to: - Corinne Cath for work on [RFC8280].  - Theresa Engelhard
   and the hrpc list for suggestions.  - The Human Rights Review Team
   for implementing the guidelines and helping them improve.

6.  Security Considerations

   As this document concerns a research document, there are no security

7.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

8.  Research Group Information

   The discussion list for the IRTF Human Rights Protocol Considerations
   Research Group is located at the e-mail address [1].
   Information on the group and information on how to subscribe to the
   list is at [2]

   Archives of the list can be found at:
   archive/web/hrpc/current/index.html [3]

9.  References

9.1.  Informative References

   [BCP72]    IETF, "Guidelines for Writing RFC Text on Security
              Considerations", 2003,

   [Bless]    Bless, R. and C. Orwat, "Values and Networks", 2015.

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   [Brown]    Brown, I. and M. Ziewitz, "A Prehistory of Internet
              Governance", Research Handbook on Governance of the
              Internet. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar. , 2013.

   [FIArch]   "Future Internet Design Principles", January 2012,

              Geek Feminism Wiki, "Pseudonymity", 2015,

              Hill, R., "Partial Catalog of Human Rights Related to ICT
              Activities", 2014,

   [HTML5]    W3C, "HTML5", 2014, <>.

   [ICCPR]    United Nations General Assembly, "International Covenant
              on Civil and Political Rights", 1976,

   [ICESCR]   United Nations General Assembly, "International Covenant
              on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights", 1966,

   [IRP]      Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition, "10
              Internet Rights & Principles", 2014,

   [newegg]   Mullin, J., "Newegg on trial: Mystery company TQP rewrites
              the history of encryption", 2013, <

              IETF, "Note Well", 2015,

              W3C, "W3C Patent Policy", 2004,

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   [Penney]   Penney, J., "Chilling Effects: Online Surveillance and
              Wikipedia Use", 2016, <

              Pouwelse, Ed, J., "Media without censorship", 2012,

   [RFC0793]  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7,
              RFC 793, DOI 10.17487/RFC0793, September 1981,

   [RFC1035]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and
              specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, DOI 10.17487/RFC1035,
              November 1987, <>.

   [RFC1958]  Carpenter, B., Ed., "Architectural Principles of the
              Internet", RFC 1958, DOI 10.17487/RFC1958, June 1996,

   [RFC1984]  IAB and IESG, "IAB and IESG Statement on Cryptographic
              Technology and the Internet", BCP 200, RFC 1984,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC1984, August 1996,

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, DOI 10.17487/RFC2026, October 1996,

   [RFC2277]  Alvestrand, H., "IETF Policy on Character Sets and
              Languages", BCP 18, RFC 2277, DOI 10.17487/RFC2277,
              January 1998, <>.

   [RFC3365]  Schiller, J., "Strong Security Requirements for Internet
              Engineering Task Force Standard Protocols", BCP 61,
              RFC 3365, DOI 10.17487/RFC3365, August 2002,

   [RFC3724]  Kempf, J., Ed., Austein, R., Ed., and IAB, "The Rise of
              the Middle and the Future of End-to-End: Reflections on
              the Evolution of the Internet Architecture", RFC 3724,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3724, March 2004,

   [RFC3935]  Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF",
              BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004,

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   [RFC3979]  Bradner, S., Ed., "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF
              Technology", RFC 3979, DOI 10.17487/RFC3979, March 2005,

   [RFC4033]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements",
              RFC 4033, DOI 10.17487/RFC4033, March 2005,

   [RFC4101]  Rescorla, E. and IAB, "Writing Protocol Models", RFC 4101,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4101, June 2005,

   [RFC4941]  Narten, T., Draves, R., and S. Krishnan, "Privacy
              Extensions for Stateless Address Autoconfiguration in
              IPv6", RFC 4941, DOI 10.17487/RFC4941, September 2007,

   [RFC4949]  Shirey, R., "Internet Security Glossary, Version 2",
              FYI 36, RFC 4949, DOI 10.17487/RFC4949, August 2007,

   [RFC5321]  Klensin, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 5321,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5321, October 2008,

   [RFC5646]  Phillips, A., Ed. and M. Davis, Ed., "Tags for Identifying
              Languages", BCP 47, RFC 5646, DOI 10.17487/RFC5646,
              September 2009, <>.

   [RFC6108]  Chung, C., Kasyanov, A., Livingood, J., Mody, N., and B.
              Van Lieu, "Comcast's Web Notification System Design",
              RFC 6108, DOI 10.17487/RFC6108, February 2011,

   [RFC6235]  Boschi, E. and B. Trammell, "IP Flow Anonymization
              Support", RFC 6235, DOI 10.17487/RFC6235, May 2011,

   [RFC6365]  Hoffman, P. and J. Klensin, "Terminology Used in
              Internationalization in the IETF", BCP 166, RFC 6365,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6365, September 2011,

   [RFC6701]  Farrel, A. and P. Resnick, "Sanctions Available for
              Application to Violators of IETF IPR Policy", RFC 6701,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6701, August 2012,

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   [RFC6973]  Cooper, A., Tschofenig, H., Aboba, B., Peterson, J.,
              Morris, J., Hansen, M., and R. Smith, "Privacy
              Considerations for Internet Protocols", RFC 6973,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6973, July 2013,

   [RFC7258]  Farrell, S. and H. Tschofenig, "Pervasive Monitoring Is an
              Attack", BCP 188, RFC 7258, DOI 10.17487/RFC7258, May
              2014, <>.

   [RFC7624]  Barnes, R., Schneier, B., Jennings, C., Hardie, T.,
              Trammell, B., Huitema, C., and D. Borkmann,
              "Confidentiality in the Face of Pervasive Surveillance: A
              Threat Model and Problem Statement", RFC 7624,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7624, August 2015,

   [RFC7725]  Bray, T., "An HTTP Status Code to Report Legal Obstacles",
              RFC 7725, DOI 10.17487/RFC7725, February 2016,

   [RFC7844]  Huitema, C., Mrugalski, T., and S. Krishnan, "Anonymity
              Profiles for DHCP Clients", RFC 7844,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7844, May 2016,

   [RFC7858]  Hu, Z., Zhu, L., Heidemann, J., Mankin, A., Wessels, D.,
              and P. Hoffman, "Specification for DNS over Transport
              Layer Security (TLS)", RFC 7858, DOI 10.17487/RFC7858, May
              2016, <>.

   [RFC8280]  ten Oever, N. and C. Cath, "Research into Human Rights
              Protocol Considerations", RFC 8280, DOI 10.17487/RFC8280,
              October 2017, <>.

   [RFC8484]  Hoffman, P. and P. McManus, "DNS Queries over HTTPS
              (DoH)", RFC 8484, DOI 10.17487/RFC8484, October 2018,

   [Saltzer]  Saltzer, J., Reed, D., and D. Clark, "End-to-End Arguments
              in System Design", ACM TOCS, Vol 2, Number 4, November
              1984, pp 277-288. , 1984.

   [UDHR]     United Nations General Assembly, "The Universal
              Declaration of Human Rights", 1948,

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              United Nations Human Rights Council, "UN Human Rights
              Council Resolution "The promotion, protection and
              enjoyment of human rights on the Internet" (A/HRC/32/
              L.20)", 2016, <https://documents-dds-

              W3C, "Accessibility", 2015,

              W3C, "Localization vs. Internationalization", 2010,

              Zittrain, J., "The Future of the Internet - And How to
              Stop It", Yale University Press , 2008,

9.2.  URIs




Authors' Addresses

   Niels ten Oever
   University of Amsterdam


   Gurshabad Grover
   Centre for Internet and Society


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